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Is festive cheese your cup of tea?

Is festive cheese your cup of tea?


Cheeseboards are particularly popular at the end of a Christmas meal, but not everyone wants a glass of red wine or port to accompany it.

For the growing number of alcohol abstainers, consider offering tea pairings to bring out the best in your cheeses.

Here, Betty Koster, cheese connoisseur and Dilmah Tea ambassador, shares her pairing picks . . .

Exceptional lively lime and orange fusion tea

A high grown Ceylon Pekoe grade, offering a bright and golden brew in exotic embrace with orange, lemon and lime.

Pair with:

Brie – The tea boosts the citrusy flavours of this French, creamy, bloomy rind cheese.

Semi Matured Goat Gouda – On the palate, first the tea disappears, only to come back in a refreshing and cleansing way when paired with this cheese.

Shropshire Blue, English Orange Coloured Blue Cheese – The liquorice and orange flavours are boosted. In combination with the tea, it leaves a pleasant bitterness on the palate. 

English breakfast tea

Hand-picked and artisanally made in the Dimbula region of Sri Lanka which is renowned for strong and full-bodied tea.

Pair with:

Délice de Bourgogne – This French, triple cream cheese from the Burgundy region has fresh earthy notes and melts smoothly when paired with this tea.

Tomme de Chèvre – A French, fresh goat milk cheese from the Poitou region. When paired with the tea, the flavours mix well and washes down in a yoghurt-like consistency.

Farmhouse Cheddar – A fun, fresh, earthy combination arises when paired with the tea.

Chiriboga Blue – A German cheese crafted by an Ecuadorian man, named Arthuro Chiriboga. The acidity in cheese is smoothened out, followed by a fruity and nutty flavour, that is brought to the forefront when paired with the tea.

Italian almond tea

A medium strength Ceylon Tea, mildly fragrant, with a slightly sweet almond finish.

Pair with:

French Emmental – This semi hard cheese has Swiss origins and perfectly balances out the tea; sweet and nutty, with a tangy taste.

Dutch Young Gouda – The cheese has the perfect combination of butter and almond.

Blue Stilton – When paired with the tea, the salty and nutty flavour melts into a smooth almond taste.

Manchego – A raw Spanish sheep milk cheese from La Mancha. It has a hint of marzipan when paired with the tea. 

Ceylon spice chai

Authentic chai combining Ceylon’s famous spices - clove, ginger and cinnamon – with Dombagastalawa BOP Special Single Estate Tea.

Pair with:

Brie – This creamy, French, bloomy rind cheese has a mushroomy aftertaste.

Black Betty – This 18-month matured goat milk paired with the chai has a very balanced flavour, especially with the tyrosine crystals.

Munster with Kummel Seeds – This traditional rind-washed cheese is from the Alsace region. It’s amazingly aromatic with the kummel seeds. When paired with the chai, it hints at a spicy and rich note. 

Moroccan mint tea

A pleasing all-natural combination of gentle green tea and the sweet fragrance of peppermint leaves.

Pair with:

Brie de Meaux – This raw milk, French farmstead brie has a refreshingly balanced combination once paired with the tea.

Délice de Bourgogne – A triple cream cheese from the Burgundy region in France. With the tea, it tastes like panna cotta with a hint of mint, moulding it to be a dessert of its own.

Monte Enebro – Cleanse your palette with this Spanish pasteurised goat milk cheese, matured in ashes and blue mould. A hit of chalky and earthy tones pop up when paired with the tea.

Old Gouda – This Dutch cheese is matured for 15 months. It brings up rich and sweet flavours in the cheese when paired with the tea, with no remnants of saltines, despite its age.

Gorgonzola Dolce – A beautiful, sweet and fresh cheese. 

Ceylon cinnamon tea

The slightly woody note of cinnamon with its pervasive fragrance is enlivening and perfectly complements the tea, adding a touch of sharpness.

Pair with:

Coulommiers – A raw milk, farmstead French brie that has a beautiful note of cinnamon that comes to life at the back of the tongue, without overwhelming the cheese.

Brindamour – This Corsican sheep’s milk cheese has been matured in herbs from the isle. The herbs overwhelm the taste of cinnamon in the tea.

Gruyère – Dilmah Ceylon cinnamon tea and this half hard Swiss alpine cheese is a party in the mouth! 

Earl Grey tea

Hand-picked and artisanally made in the Ratnapura region of Sri Lanka. Strong and fragrant, infused with bergamot.

Pair with:

La Gabarre – Earthy and slightly fruity notes are brought to the front when this French goat milk cheese from the Loire region is paired with an Earl Grey tea.

Époisses – This aromatic rind-washed cheese from Burgundy combines well with the tea. A fresh, citrusy flavour erupts from the bergamot as well as a rich taste from the cheese.

Alp Blossom – An aromatic rind-washed, Austrian half hard cheese matured with flowers grown in the Austrian mountains. Paired with the tea, it has floral, caramel and buttery notes.

Gorgonzola Dolce – A soft and creamy Italian blue cheese, quite pleasant with the tea and has rich notes of white chocolate.

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